Legal Questions?

Frequently Asked Questions for a DUI Lawyer in Santa Rosa

What is the blood alcohol content that is considered drunk under California law?

Generally, the state of California considers legal impairment to be a minimum blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent for those over 21, and 0.01 percent for those under 21. Depending on your weight, this can be reached after as few as two drinks in a two-hour period. For drivers of commercial vehicles, a BAC of 0.04 percent or more is illegal. A repeat offender is considered to be driving illegally if he or she has a BAC of 0.01 percent or higher. California has a “no tolerance” law for drivers less than 18 years of age, meaning that any measurable alcohol concentration is illegal.

If I am stopped and asked to take a breath test, should I refuse if I’ve had a couple of drinks? What happens if I refuse to take a breath, urine, or blood test?

If you are arrested by an officer who has cause to suspect you are driving under the influence, California law requires that you take the chemical test or be subject to a fine and an automatic suspension of your driver’s license as follows:

  • First offense—one-year suspension and $125 fine
  • Second offense—two-year suspension and $125 fine
  • Third offense—three-year suspension and $125 fine

If you have not been arrested, an officer can request that you take a breath test, which you have the right to refuse without consequence. Positive results will establish the probable cause to result in a DUI arrest. If the officer has other reasons to believe you are impaired, you can be arrested and required to take the tests as stated above.

If I am arrested for DUI, will I lose my driver’s license?

For a first offense, you will be given a 30-day temporary license. Upon the license's expiration, the DMV will attempt to suspend your license for four months. That suspension is increased to one year if you are under 21 or if you refused a breath, blood, or urine test at the time of arrest. We can usually convert the suspension to a restricted license to allow you to drive to and from employment and on the job as needed. A criminal court conviction results in a separate suspension for six months to one year. Both DMV and court suspensions can be challenged to restore your license and reduce or eliminate license suspensions.

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